Company: Danube Group
Designation: Founder and Chairman
Rizwan Sajan is the founder and chairman of Danube Group, one of the region’s most successful business conglomerates. His venture Danube Building Materials has supplied building materials to just about every development since the property boom began and now the Danube Group is the undisputed market leader in building materials in the emirate, created under Sajan’s astute leadership.
Hailing from a middle class family in Mumbai, India, Sajan is a self-made man, starting his career at the age of 12 selling books and fire crackers. After the death of his father, he joined his paternal uncle in Kuwait and assisted him in his family business. It was 1993 when he arrived to UAE to start his own business with his wife Sameera, who was his first employee.
Now, 25 years later, Danube Group has made a concrete footprint in the MENA region and is actively involved in a number of fields and has more than 40 locations worldwide in countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, China and India, with an employee strength of over 2,600 people. Key operations come under the labels of Danube Building Materials, Danube Home, Danube Properties and Alucopanel Middle East.
Hard work is the key to success. You did not come this far to only come this far. Keep going!”
The company recorded a total revenue of $1.4bn in the year 2016 and has continued this upward trajectory in the months and years since.
As a whole, the Danube Group has undergone tremendous change in terms of its size, scope and expansion plans. Under Danube Properties, the landmark projects Starz (AED300m), Glamz (AED300m) and Miralcz (AED400m) have now been launched. In July this year, his latest project, the 1,064-unit Lawnz in Dubai’s International City, also came onto the market.
Another crucial development under the Danube Group label was the opening of the Alucopanel Middle East Factory. In light of rising fire-related incidents in the region, Alucopanel inaugurated the factory producing non-combustible A2 ACP’s. It is the first and only company to receive Dubai Civil Defence approvals and is now being used in key projects across the GCC.
In recognition of Sajan’s leadership skills and abilities, various awards have been conferred upon him, most notable being seventh on top 100 Indian leaders in the UAE List by Forbes Middle East, Businessman of the Year by Masala magazine, Visionary of the Year at the first CEO Awards and the Most Admiral Retail Professional of the Year as well as the Top Real Estate Developer in the Arab World by Forbes Middle East. Other accolades include Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Excellence Award, Dubai Quality Award, Dubai Customs Award, RAK SME Award, the Dubai Logistics and Supply Chain Award and UAE’s Top 20 Performers.
Moreover, Rizwan Sajan has been part of a number of panel discussions and thought leadership programmes, including the Indian Leaders Delegation to India, ICAI (Abu Dhabi Chapter), and an opinion leader in SME Adviser.
Being a workaholic, Sajan believes there are no shortcuts to success. Hard work and determination are, he told Arabian Business, the keys to his entrepreneurial journey; one only gets better by doing, trying, and learning.
Sajan goes swimming at least five days a week and enjoys travelling and watching movies with his wife.